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Dokken – Broken Bones

Label: Frontiers
Format: CD download
Released: 2012
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10

I’m a long time Dokken fan, love those albums from the 80s, but since the 1995 reunion record, “Dysfunctional”, on, every studio release has been spotty with good tunes at best. “Shadowlife” was just an embarrassment, but “Erase The Slate” with Reb Beach on lead guitar was real solid. The follow-up, 1999’s “Long Way Home” with guitarist John Norum just didn’t have the right chemistry and was a bore, and so was the first one with John Levin, “Hell To Pay” (there was none). “Lightning Strikes Again” (2008) had some good stuff (‘This Fire’).


Now in 2012, Don Dokken has another (and supposedly last) crack at trying to recapture the magic Dokken had in the 80s. Not karaoke, just trying to tap back into the band’s energy, vibe, formula that made so many of those tunes (and each album) from the 80s great. ‘Empire’ gets things off on the right foot with a heavy guitar riff, plenty of leads, a driving rhythm, and a catchy chorus with melodic backing vocals. All the ingredients in the Dokken formula. And even though he can’t pull it off live anymore (sometimes its painful for me to listen to him), Don’s voice sounds good on tape. The guy is older and his voice changed, so understandably he doesn’t sing in the high register like he did in the 80s (and hasn’t in many years). And although a good player, its weird hearing guitarist Jon Levin ape George Lynch’s technique and style but what are you gonna do, Lynch defined what the guitars are in Dokken.

Title track is a cool moody one, pulling back on the guitars focusing more on the harmonies, has a similar flow to a couple things from “Dysfunctional” or ‘Slate”. ‘Best Of Me’ follows, kicks in with the riff but kinda does the same thing as the title track, switching the focus to a mid pace, melodic chorus and leads. Good stuff. ‘Blind’ hits back a little harder with a riff that’s got some swagger and ‘Waterfall’ keeps the pace upbeat. ‘Victim Of The Crime’ I dig, verses and chorus doesn’t sound so much like Lynch played the guitar, feels more like Jon doing his own thing for this middle eastern flavored number. Ballad ‘Today’ is laid back with acoustic guitars, something to relax to, including what could be a couple sounds from the ocean. The last three tunes (closer ‘Tonight’), keeps things hard rockin.

‘Front to back a strong album and one to go out on if this is really the last Dokken studio release.

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